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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 21, 2010 6:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: 3/17/70

Ghostofpig has posted here a couple times that the 3/17/70 show did not happen. I thought it might be useful to quote his reasons, along with my comments:

First, at that time I went to college a few hours from Buffalo. At that time, my fellow heads and I knew about every date they were playing east of Chicago and did our best to attend them. We were at the January and February Fillmore East shows which occurred before this alleged show and, more to the point, the Capitol Theater shows in March----3-20 and 3-21. Not one person in the audience mentioned any Buffalo show. Something of this nature would have caused a major stir in the community. (Mind you, though we didn't have the internet, we had mouths. If said show had taken place, within a week, at least 10,000 heads would have claimed to have been there). Not a word. The Dead didn't sneeze without someone knowing and, most likely recording it. Almost every show in 1970 was recorded from the audience. Someone would have nailed this one.

[Many 1970 shows have no known AUD recordings - way too many. The show seems to have been barely advertised; though over 2,000 are said to have attended. But lots of early shows seen by just as many people have completely 'disappeared'. To find two or three genuine recollections of ANY 1970 show is pretty rare. Perhaps a diligent researcher could find SOME newspaper ad for this event.]

Second: In April, they followed Miles at the Fillmore West. This was written up in Rolling Stone with several quotes from Phil and Jerry about how they would love to broaden their musical horizons and jam with the likes of Davis or, in Lesh's words, a classical orchestra--Philharmonic or modernist.

[I'd like to see that Rolling Stone article.]

Third: such a show would have made it into at least one of the post Garcia books--Scully, McNally, and certainly Lesh's book. There would be local articles, not alleged recollections.

[It is in McNally's. There are local articles - 3 in fact - that don't seem to be fakes. The recollections also seem to match up pretty well.]

Fourth, Owsley and/or Lemieux would have acknowledged the concert. Instead they merely maintain that Owsley was not on tour then and that no tape exists. Surely, they would have taped such an event, even without Owsley. And they would have at least acknowledged such an event.

[The Dead might have recorded it; we don't know. Any number of reasons this tape may have disappeared. Anyway, two people who weren't there wouldn't be the ones to ask - what could they acknowledge?]

As to Foss, his works were composed, not improvised, and no mention of this event is in his biography. Nothing is listed in the list of compositions.

[He played a Bach piece, a Cage piece, and his own composition "Geod" - only one part of the concert involved orchestral improv, which was more 'directed' than improvised.]

There was no such show. Not a shred of evidence exists, other than the "recollection" of someone who claims to have been there. No newspaper clips, no review, no documentation either via the Dead or the conductor--nada. zip.
I understand and have read the news source--which is quoted and all. That's all there is--and is that real or fabricated? But even the author of the link admits there are no posters, etc., and Bear's assertion that he did not tape any such event nor is there a tape in the vault is far from proof.

[All we have to do is verify that the three Buffalo newspaper clips are real. A simple search by the right person could prove it. Personally, without knowing, I was convinced in part by the style - it would be a challenge for 'modern' people to write articles in three different 'naive' journalistic styles - and in part by the correlation of the different "recollections" - the way they all remember different slants on what is recognizably the same show (rather than just repeating each other). For your not hearing about the show in 1970, I have no answer. As for Phil Lesh not talking about this show, I'm quite puzzled - it was likely through his connection with Lukas Foss that the Dead played this concert. Possibly, he (and Foss) thought it sucked - a couple reviewers indicated that the rock band/orchestra 'improvisation' part didn't work, and it sounds like the other rock band just got in the way.
A couple other options for the desperately curious, are to contact the guy who set up the Blackdog page directly, since he may have more information (he mentions finding other musicians from the show); or perhaps the writer, who's also an excellent researcher & '60s show historian.]

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 22, 2010 2:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 3/17/70 - update

Actually, Phil DOES mention it in his book! (I'm surprised nobody corrected me on this.)
Just briefly, though - sometime in '62, he's talking about Luciano Berio & the Ojai Festival - "The highlight for me was an outdoor performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 25, conducted by Berio and played by Lucas Foss (who later would invite the Dead to perform improvisations with his orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic)."

Which makes it even more annoying that he doesn't actually describe that concert! I guess when you're writing about a 30-year music career, you'll leave out a few things. But I think it's now indisputable that this show happened.

By the way, this is off-topic, but on the same page, Phil describes going to what he calls the greatest show he ever saw - John Coltrane's quartet with Wes Montgomery. "To this day I haven't heard a performance in any genre of music that came close to reaching the heights of that one. The band played pretty much continuously, with very few breaks, starting at a peak and climbing... David Crosby told me a great story about seeing Trane one night at that same club: David had gone to the men's room, and as he was leaving, Coltrane ended his solo, left the bandstand, walked into a tiny room offstage, and stood there, *still playing* - all the way through the piano solo and into the reprise, when he returned to the band."

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 22, 2010 11:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 3/17/70 - update #2

I've checked Lukas Foss's bio-bibliography (by Karen Perone, 1991), and it confirms that the newspaper reviews are genuine.
For Foss's composition "Geod", it notes that 3/17/70 was the American premiere, and that the show involved the Road, the Grateful Dead, and the BPO along with four other conductors. "The performance also included Sonovision's laser-beam and prism light show."
Several reviews are noted:
Buffalo Evening News 3/18/70 - John Dwyer, "New World of Music for a Young Audience"
and James Brennan, "Orchestra's Rapport with Rock Bands Electrifies Audience" (this article is on the Blackdog site)
Buffalo Courier Express 3/18/70 - Thomas Putnam, "Marathon" (a review, also on the Blackdog site)
High Fidelity/Musical America journal 20:18 (June 1970) - Thomas Putnam, "Foss Premiere" (another review, mentioning the "unprepared and unspontaneous" jam-session with the Road and the Dead)

The book also indexes Foss's "Non-Improvisation", a 1967 composition that "exists only in chart form for planned improvisations; no score." It was for four players (clarinet, violincello, piano & percussion), and was based on the first movement of Bach's concerto for harpsichord in D minor. This is the composition that the Road and the Dead added freeform sounds to. (Foss also played this with an unidentified rock band at the Temple University Music Festival on 7/29/71, which was another attempt to join orchestral & rock music.)

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Poster: Skobud Date: Apr 21, 2010 10:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 3/17/70

What are you looking for LIA? I am only asking because I have access to the actual Buffalo News archive, and I can most likely find the actual 3/18/70 paper and look through it and find the review.

EDIT: I just spoke to my friend who has worked there(Buffalo News) for 30 years, and he told me the easiest way is to go to the main branch of the Buffalo Public Library and just look it up...So, in the next few days here I will do that and try to snap a picture of the hard copy of the paper and maybe we can put this to rest....

This post was modified by Skobud on 2010-04-21 17:27:52

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Apr 21, 2010 2:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 3/17/70

I was wondering if any readers lived in Buffalo!

Yeah, the two Buffalo News articles (from 3/17 and 3/18) are the ones to look for - also any ads for the event at the Kleinhans before the 17th. The blackdog site mentions that the public library has a Buffalo Philharmonic scrapbook where he found the two articles.

Good to see a researcher on the case, thanks!